Sotto: If Dengvaxia was not effective before, how can it be effective now?
MANILA, Philippines — If Dengvaxia was not effective before, how can it be effective now?
Senate President Vicente Sotto III posed this question on Thursday after former Health Secretary Janette Garin urged government to “listen to real experts” and make dengue vaccines available to the public again amid the increasing number of dengue cases in the country.
Sotto said that while protection from dengue is essential, there is still “uncertainty” with Dengvaxia, which was used in the mass anti-dengue vaccination program during the time of former President Benigno Aquino III in 2016 and was continued until 2017.
“If it was not effective before, how can it be effective now? It’s not that I’m not amenable, we all want protection or cure from dengue, but there is uncertainty in the product,” Sotto said in a text message.
French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur, the manufacturer of Dengvaxia, however, released a study in November 2017 stating that the product could cause an increased risk to patients who have not been infected by dengue in the past.
This led to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III pulling out Dengvaxia vaccines from the local market.
The Palace, meanwhile, said it is open to make Dengvaxia available in the market again following Garin’s call.
“We’re always open to anything that will benefit the Filipino people. We’re not closed to any suggestion,” Panelo told reporters in Malacañang.
Panelo, however, said Garin’s call still needs a thorough and extensive discussion. /muf
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